Why You Need a DAM Librarian

Getting started with digital asset management (DAM) means more than simply implementing a DAM-ready system – the true power of digital asset management comes from empowering users with the ability to find, share, and analyze the performance of their global materials.

While technology sets the foundation for strong content management, long-term DAM success needs strong program ownership. Enter, the DAM librarian.

Shahram Teimouri, associate director of commercial solutions at BioMarin Pharmaceutical, shared his thoughts on why organizations should consider hiring a DAM librarian. These specialized professionals can offer assistance in three key areas: governance, metadata, and taxonomy, as well as help build a database of resources on how to use DAM.

  1. Governance – Your librarian can develop a governance policy or strengthen an existing one. That policy can be a formal, official statement or a collection of unofficial rules and process documents – the most important thing is that you have a policy you can enforce. Doing so will prevent your DAM from becoming a dumping ground for inappropriate, outdated, or needlessly duplicated assets.
  2. Metadata and Taxonomy – Metadata, the data that describes your data, and taxonomy, your organizational scheme, are vital to DAM success. A DAM librarian can organize information and define data fields and their structure. A DAM librarian also ensures the quality and searchability of your content.
  3. Reference Help – This is all about teaching users how to fish, rather than simply doling out information—not unlike what a good librarian at your local public library does. A DAM librarian can (and should) develop user training guides and conduct learning sessions, as well as tailor reference materials to individual needs.

Specialized Skills

Taking a deeper dive into the role of a DAM librarian, what special skills should librarians bring to the table?

First, your librarian should reinforce your brand by treating assets consistently, and by making sure all copyrights are documented and linked to content. If your resources are limited, a librarian can organize your team to make sure everyone is using their time efficiently.

Finally, an effective librarian should prepare the broader organization for DAM by conducting change management trainings and producing the right documentation. An organization that isn’t properly prepared for change will likely resist it, which jeopardizes success.

Hiring the Right Librarian

Even if you decide against hiring a full-time librarian, consider working with a consultant. A consultant can help you focus on your needs and develop processes and workflows. These will provide valuable guidance if you decide to hire a full-time librarian.

Here are a few suggestions for hiring the right person, whether a consultant or a permanent employee:

  • Set explicit business objectives for your DAM implementation and hire a dedicated resource early on
  • Review your candidate’s background for technical proficiency, patience, and willingness to persevere
  • Make sure your librarian works closely with people who are using DAM daily
  • Follow your librarian’s advice about asset management—their experience is like gold

A DAM librarian is far more than a “nice to have.” Your DAM implementation is all about how you use and manage the information you need to be successful in tough and competitive markets, and in this, your librarian is one of your greatest allies.

View Shahram’s presentation, “Librarians: Critical to DAM Success”.